Representation of Men and Women in Music

As we have learned about the how men and women are portrayed through imagery, we have seen the impact and toll it has taken on today’s society. Gender roles are somewhat ingrained into our systems and media is doing it’s best to sustain these patriarchal “norms” through dehumanizing men and women into mere objects. For my final project, I plan on writing a paper that examines how men and women are portrayed in music, music videos, and the artists themselves.

My initial thought is to start with an extreme example and that is Tyler, the Creator. I will explore some of his lyrics and how he tries to portray himself as someone who is ruthless and cold by rapping about raping women and hatred for homosexuals. Lyrics such as “Rape, katana, and then I skin ’em, all beige suit made out of white women” show extreme violence and disregard for the respect of the opposite sex. The music video to this song is equally as strong as it shows young men putting roofies in women’s drinks and taking them home when they collapse from the drug. With Tyler as my main example, he would serve as a strong comparison to the more popular artists that I examine such as Robin Thicke, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and more. Robin Thicke, who’s “Blurred Lines” was somehow the biggest song of the summer, has a video that is equally as alarming with lyrics that I sending the same message as Tyler’s but in a more subtle manner. I want to prove that just because one image is more shocking than the other, the image is all the same. As for Justin Bieber, I believe as he is transitioning to a more mature musical stage in his career, he is seemingly forcing his young “Beliebers” to join him whether they are ready or not. For young women, such as my sister at the age of 13, to listen to their idol and personal God singing about “putting a woman down” in the bed room with accused rapist, R. Kelly, it is something that they may not be mature enough to handle, but nonetheless exposed to anyway. Lastly, I would like to take a look at a woman who originally came from a super religious family and eventually turned into an overly sexualized puppet, Katy Perry. While she has songs that make us feel like “fireworks”, she is often shown wearing next to nothing in her videos and in her photo shoots. The irony of the fact that she is being inspirational, yet becoming a modern-day Betty Boop is ridiculous.

With this final project, I plan to write a paper. When I present in class, I plan on speaking about my topics while showing images and portions of music videos that we have all probably already seen. My biggest concern is that I have to stay focused on the topic and not stray off in too many directions.


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